In Digestive Complaints

When your pet develops diarrhea it is often very obvious. You know, white carpet, brown goo, stinky smell, maybe you even accidentally stepped in it…

What should you feed your critter when they get diarrhea?

pet incontinence

The answer is:

  1. At first, feed nothing at all. Diarrhea says that your pet’s digestive system needs a rest, so I recommend feeding nothing for 24 hours. During this time period, offering water is a good idea, or, even better, “Rice Water”. Search for the Blog-post on the “Rice Water Diet” for a complete description of this simple diet recommended by the World Health Organization to treat diarrhea in developing nations.
  2. There are several foods that are good for patients with diarrhea, most have large mounts of soluble fiber in them. The single food, though, that I have found to be most effective in stopping and controlling diarrhea is WHITE RICE. Not minute rice, but a whole white rice that you cook with more water than you might normally to make it a bit like porridge. In China, white rice that is prepared this way is commonly fed to babies and is also a breakfast meal. They call it: “Congee”.
  3. Other foods that also are good for diarrhea (sometimes white rice doesn’t do the trick), include baked sweet potato or yams, baked squash or pumpkin (canned pumpkin is convenient to use).

Generally it helps to feed bland food, much like we describe as “Comfort Food”, when your pet gets diarrhea. Foods that are oily may contribute to more diarrhea, and some pets are very sensitive to fats and oils, possibly from some pancreatic involvement, and can develop vomiting or even pancreatitis. So avoid the use of oils while your pet is actively having diarrhea.

Summary of Feeding Plan for your Pet with Diarrhea:

  • First 24 hours, feed nothing, provide plenty of fresh water, or rice water to keep them hydrated
  • Second 24 hours start with small amounts of white rice, of about 1-2 Tablespoons of rice, and add 1 teaspoon of something tasty like Chicken baby food, and make balls out of the rice and chicken or turkey baby food. You can mix probiotics or clay or antibiotics or herbs into each rice ball you are giving your pet. They should be pretty hungry after being fasted for 24 hours. DON’T OVERFEED the rice balls.  Space out your giving these to once every 30 minutes to an hour, to keep the burden on the digestive system low.
  • Third 24 hours, if your pet still has diarrhea, start feeding a 50% white rice and 50% cooked low fat meat dish. Baked or boiled chicken is good, or you can try some ground turkey, baked with the rice into patties or a casserole.
  • Be sure to continue to give the supplements and treatments for the diarrhea in the rice balls or food you are feeding to ensure that your pet improves.
  • Once the stool has returned to its previously healthy state you can start back with your pet’s regular pet food, gradually mixing it in with the food you had been feeding for the diarrhea.
  • Discontinue the medication when your veterinarian recommends.
  • Continue with the probiotics for at least a month if your pet received antibiotics, to insure an effective reinoculation with beneficial bacteria in the probiotic supplement you have been giving.

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Doc Rob
Dr. Robert Silver DVM, MS, CVA achieved his lifetime goal of becoming a veterinarian when he graduated from Colorado State University’s (CSU) College of Veterinary Medicine in 1982. In the 90s, after creating Boulder’s Natural Animal, a Holistic Wellness Center, Dr. Silver established effective protocols for a number of serious, potentially life-threatening chronic diseases in dogs and cats, such as cancer, allergies, chronic pain, inflammatory bowel disease, Canine epilepsy, and behavior problems. Dr. Silver's has also designed nutritional and herbal formulas for RxVitamins for Pets and worked directly with pets who have been given cannabis and hemp by their owners to address a number of difficult conditions such as epilepsy, pain, cancer and behavior problems. Although retired from day-to-day practice, Dr. Silver still consults on difficult cases referred from veterinarians, and continues to work as Chief Medical Officer for RxVitamins for Pets.

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